San Bernardo alle Terme: a little Pantheon in Rome

Pantheon of RomeThe Pantheon is one of the symbol of the ancient Rome, despite of its transformation in a Basilica, since the beginning of the VII century.
This wonderful and impressive monument has inspired many artists over the centuries, due to its beauty and its huge dome.
This is the reason why in Rome, on canvas or walls, we could observe decorations very similar to the ones who covered the dome of the Pantheon.

Moreover, in Rome there’s also a XVI century church, erected for the order of the Cistercensi, in which we could find a copy of the Pantheon dome.

Facciata San Bernardo alle Terme

I’m speaking about the

Church of San Bernando alle Terme

which stands not far from Via Nazionale and Piazza della Repubblica, so in the real city centre.
This sacred place has a round shape because it was built just above the remains of one of the ancient angular tower of the majestic Diocleziano’s Baths, which stood in there.
That enormous building, plenty of marble decorations, vaulted rooms and swimming pool, covered a large area, was used over the centuries for many things and aims: first of all, it became the perfect place to take materials, as marble or rock. Then, inside its rooms, was created a basilica (Santa Maria degli Angeli), and a museum (Museum of the Terme di Diocleziano). Moreover, the beautiful Church of San Bernardo alle Terme, which means Bath in italian, is the result of hard works on the ancient walls.

What do the church hosts?

Cupola - San Bernardo alle TermeA wonderful reproduction of the Pantheon dome, with its coffered ceiling and its oculus, the hole set in the centre which create a connection between the ground and the sky, the home of the Gods.
Getting into the church of San Bernardo alle Terme means to do a time travel, where we can observe how the model of the Pantheon was so famous that in Rome, after many centuries, wanted to reproduce it.
The relaxing and calm atmosphere which we could breathe here, without the crowd that each day fills the Pantheon, is a wonderful experience.

Sometimes in Rome what could seem normal or without importance can hide something special.
How it’s amazing!

.. before ending this story

Cupola 2 - San Bernardo alle TermeInside the church try to search the tomb of Johan Friedrich Overbeck.
Who was he?
He was an artist lived during the XIX century who found the artistic movement of the “Nazareni”, a sort of group of dandy who loved so much the Renaissance.
For this reason he wanted to depict in their paintings the pure figures and profiles of the Italian art of the XV century, when the R
enaissance was going to bring to the light.
A man who was inspired by the beauty of Rome, as the architect of the Church of San Bernardo alle Terme was inspired by the enormous heritage of the Ancient Rome…

Interno circolare - San Bernardo alle Terme